BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse partnered with non-profit organization Project Backboard and the Santa Ana Parks & Recreation team to give back to its community by revitalizing Portola Park’s public basketball court.
BJ’s, which opened its first restaurant in Santa Ana in 1978, fully refurbished the existing court with new blacktop, nets, and backboards, and collaborated with Media Monks and Project Backyard artists to create an inspiring mural.
The vibrant, large-scale original mural was designed to foster creativity and community participation. Inspired by pop art, the mural features silhouettes of a diverse group of basketball players and was created to motivate locals of all ages to play.
On Tuesday, BJ’s invited the public to Portola Park for a game day on the new court. The event included an unveiling ceremony, a city all-star game, a slam dunk exhibition, and a Santa Ana girls’ youth basketball practice. Attendees also had the opportunity to shoot hoops and enjoy refreshments. The company gave away basketballs and free Pizookies as part of the festivities.
“To be able to give back to the community where we started BJ’s Restaurants is really exciting,” says CEO Greg Levin. “We’ve been saying this is kind of our home court. We hope it gives people a place to gather, play basketball, and just connect and have that human interaction which is so important.”
“This was a great opportunity to collaborate with BJ’s and Project Backboard,” says Paul Eakins, public affairs information officer for the City of Santa Ana. “This will be really enjoyed by the people in this community. We’re right next door to an elementary school so I’m sure the kids will be coming over here every day. We’re really happy and grateful that they were able to provide this for the community of Santa Ana.”